Anthony Rue II is the founder and leader of one of the most commercially successful dance groups, The Amount Boyz. Anthony Rue II was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and transcended the boundaries of the inner city and its woes, beginning his dance training starting at the early age of 10, at the National Dance Institute. After training at the institute through out his elementary years Anthony then moved on to attend New York City’s acclaimed “Fame” school Fiorella La Gaurdia High School of the Performing Arts. While training and excelling in classically trained dance, the exposure to funk and soul classics by his mother and the rise of Hip-Hop music and the dance that followed the movement still had a profound influence on him, and was ultimately where his passion for the art form lay.
Jonathan McCall is a television news anchor/reporter with Cox Media Group. He had the desire to become a newsman, watching local news at the age of 4. Jonathan grew up in Houston, but his career in TV news has moved him to Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, Nevada, California and Oklahoma.
In 2010, he successfully began his road to stardom by releasing his first mix tape, Creative Control which was hosted by the acclaimed DJ Mick Boogie. It not only made a splash in the underground music world, thus surpassing industry expectations, but mainstream outlets such as Source Magazine also titled Chris as one of the top “hot up and coming rappers.”
Chris started his career at a young age by watching people from his famed neighborhood such as Nas and Mobb Deep reach global music success. Though he was still only listening and creating lyrics as a hobby at this time, he realized his “dream” of doing what he loved, sharing his life experiences but at the same time never forgetting his roots, could actually become a reality. He eventually developed his own signature style by combining and intermixing the sounds from his role models, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Kanye, Diddy and Fabolous, just to name a few. In fact, this is what sets him apart from other artist hopefuls. He is a lyricist who is able to switch styles like chameleons who changes colors. His music has many faces where it appeals to all individuals, from strugglers, to hustlers, to playboys, and even to women.
And like his role models, instead of focusing his music on money, drugs and women, Chris aspires be a performer who tells his story through music. He stays true to his belief as his DJ Mick Boogie hosted mix tape, Creative Control, does just that. The title itself was created as a representation to hip-hop and its growth. Over time, he felt that hip-hop had been watered down to the point where artists were not talking about their true experiences. Therefore, Creative Control was a statement to the industry saying that he had complete power on what was on it. Because at the end of the day, Chris will never forget where he came from and he will always appreciate his roots.
HollyDayz: What part of Queens, NY are you from?
Chris Jones: I grew up in Queensbridge in Long island City
HollyDayz: Each area of Queens has its own identity, what identity does you area have?
Chris Jones: Long island City birthed great Artist, Basketball stars but it was also known for violence unfortunately.
HollyDayz: Name the top 3 things to do in Queensbridge/LIC?
Chris Jones: The area has changed a great deal since I was a teenager and I find myself enjoying the new restaurants like Blend On The Water. I still enjoy the view from the famous River park behind Queensbridge housing and I believe the best pizza is still made at Polito’s.
HollyDayz: Who are your influences?
Chris Jones: My influences were the guys who lived a block away from me as a kid. Nas grew up on the 40th side of Vernon. Havoc of Mobb deep grew up on 41st side of 12 street and the list goes on. It’s easy to say Jay-z, Biggie, Pac but watching nas film “Nas is like ” on my block really did it for me
HollyDayz: What opportunities do you think are available to you as a hip hop artist that you can only have in NY?
Chris Jones: To be honest there aren’t a lot of opportunities for NY artist. We have so many talented artist who get over looked because we are putting out music with substance. It will take co signs from successful artist to help a young NY artist take off. But you know what they say ” If you could make it here .. You could make it anywhere.” Look at French Montana, he continued to work hard and promote his music until a few doors finally opened for him.
HollyDayz: How do you think living in Queens has influenced you music?
Chris Jones: It has influenced it a great deal. IT gives life to the stories I tell in my music. Songs like Fall Back , and Schemin Scream Queens.
HollyDayz: What are some things people wouldn’t know about Queens?
Chris Jones: Queens is beautiful .
HollyDayz: Do you have a particular go to spot to eat in Queens?
Chris Jones: Moca Bistro in Forest Hills ..
HollyDayz: What makes New York hip-hop so different from another place?
Chris Jones: Its Real. From the days of the Tunnel to now Griffin or Perfections. All the hot new artist love to come here and perform because the energy here is hard to ignore.
HollyDayz: Many say New York hip-hop has fallen off, what are your thoughts on that?
Chris Jones: That is a joke. In a year we will see if folks are singing the same tune.
HollyDayz: Where is your favorite place to go that brings out your creativity?
Chris Jones: I honestly don’t have one place. Before I start a new project, i just go out and live. The words come naturally after you spent a good year going through ups and downs.
HollyDayz: Are there any artists you would like to work with in the neat future?
Chris Jones: I would definitely want to work with Curren$y.
HollyDayz: Describe your music to someone who has never heard it.
Chris Jones: Imagine a classic New York feel with a more polish flow. I mean who could be more polished than Jay, Big and Nas but im part of a different era but i feel like we were cut from the same cloth.
HollyDayz: Describe Queens for someone who has never been.
Chris Jones: Imagine heaven … (laughs) Imagine a diverse area where everyone will show you how far hard work can take you. Dreams are made reality or destroyed due to bad choices. Queens is reality.
Gaetano – A rising R&B star born and raised in the Bronx, New York is a singer/songwriter/producer/musician, and has been making a very respectable name for himself on the New York music scene. A soulful tone, smooth falsetto, and captivating live show has allowed him to build a growing fan base with ease. He has opened for some of the biggest names in the business, sharing the stage with artists such as Musiq Soulchild, SWV, Carl Thomas, & more.
Gaetano is a self taught musician, who plays electric/acoustic guitar, piano, bass, and drums. He recorded his first song in the studio when he was just 6 years old; “Torna A Surriento”, an Italian classic.
Throughout his teenage years, Gaetano developed a deep love for soul music by studying some of the greats: Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Babyface, D’Angelo, R Kelly, Lauren Hill, Bob Marley, to name a few.
Besides an artist, Gaetano is also a songwriter-producer, and has been working with some very notable artists in the industry, and has also landed placements on movie soundtracks and commercial jingles.
Gaetano released his debut EP, “Fade Away” in fall 2013. The project features production from Grammy Award Winning producer/songwriter Kaleb “K Quick” Rollins, as well as self-produced/written tracks from Gaetano. He is currently working on his sophomore project, hoping to release it by end of 2015.
Holly Dayz: What took you to Italy? Gaetano: Relax, eat amazing food, drink delicious wine, and visit my Uncle Mario and cousins (many of them!)
Holly Dayz: What part of Italy is your family from?
Gaetano:My family is from Salerno. A city in southern Italy, region of Campania.
Holly Dayz: I know you went to Milan, Torino, and Liguria. What makes each city different?
Gaetano: Milan is a central commercial city, with lots of clubs (discoteca), name brand shopping, markets, street vendors. There is also Malpensa Airport, a subway system, and a major train hub, Porta Garibaldi. Torino is famous for it’s beautiful Piazza’a (village squares), and proximity to the Italian Alps. Liguria is a region of Italy located on the north-western coast by the sea.
Holly Dayz:What are some of the top 3 things to see in those cities?
Gaetano: In Milan – The Duomo, in Torino – View from Monte Di Cappucini, and in Liguria – Beautiful view of the ocean and coast.
Holly Dayz: What are some of the off the beaten path places to see in those cities?
Gaetano: Milan – Definitely the Teatro Alla Scala. It’s one of the most famous opera houses in the world. It’s a bit off from the shopping centers and the Duomo, but it’s worth checking out. Torino, Piazza San Carlo.
Holly Dayz:How did you get from one city to another?
Gaetano:Italy has a wonderfully advanced train system, which travels everywhere in Italy. It’s comparable to the Amtrak here in the States. It is called, ITALO. A super fast train that travels at 175 mph! I used this train to get from city to city.
Holly Dayz: Where was your favorite place to go that would bring out your creativity?
Gaetano:The mountains! I had a jam session with my cousin Emanuel, who loves music and is learning how to play guitar.
Holly Dayz: What is the music scene like in Milan?
Gaetano:Little to none unfortunately. However, There are a number of street musicians, one who I met actually was quite brilliant. He was like the Italian version of Ed Sheeran. A guitar player and singer, named SOLTANTO. He was dope! I’m actually hoping to work with him when he comes to the U.S.
Holly Dayz: Have you ever performed in Italy?
Gaetano:Sadly, no. There aren’t many platforms for musicians and singers there, if any at all. Makes you realize how lucky we are to be in New York, we have so much here that we take for granted :/
Holly Dayz:Are there any musicians or artists you would like to work with in the near future?
Gaetano: Yes, so many, too many to name. Carlos Santana, Timbaland, D’Angelo, Tank… to name a few. If I could work with any Italian artists, it would be Andrea Bocelli & Eros Ramazzoti.
Holly Dayz: You can’t go to Italy, and not expect to get some great food. Any suggestions on the best places to eat in Milan, Torino, and Liguria?
Gaetano: Oh my…. where to begin! Milan’s Piazza Del Duomo has some of the best Italian restaurants in the world. Torino’s Piazza Vittoria and Piazza San Carlo has dozens of great places too. In Liguria, you’ll find a lot of seafood joints because it’s right by the sea where fresh fish is caught daily!
Holly Dayz: What was your favorite meal to eat while there?
Gaetano:Believe it or not… it was a Cappuccino, with a Nutella filled croissant! At an amazing cafe and pastry shop in Torino called DeGusto’s. And of course I had pizza at a bunch of places while I was in Italy, every single time was ridiculous! And you have to eat it with a fork and knife!
Holly Dayz: How was the fashion there different from your hometown of the Bronx, NY?
Gaetano: Fashion in Milan is slick and trendy, comparable to 5th ave in New York or Paris. There’s a lot of wealthy Russian and German tourists, you can tell because they dress flashier than usual. But fashion in Italy is generally important. It is common to dress nicely even to make a trip to the local cafe, or even for a family dinner.
Holly Dayz: When is the best time of year to go to Milan?
Gaetano: I went during the holidays, for Christmas and New Years, which is nice because it’s not too touristy, and you can enjoy the beautiful churches if you’re religious. It’s also nice in the summer because it doesn’t get unbearably hot. I rented a lovely villa (you can see more properties here) and it was so nice to have my own space to sunbathe as well as being able to get into the city in a short amount of time. Summer is a great time to visit! Flights are generally more expensive in the summer though. So I guess it depends on your budget and time off from work.
Holly Dayz: How would you describe Milan to a person who has never been there?
Gaetano: Hmm good question. It has an international vibe, a lot of Swiss, French, German tourists. It has a downtown New York feel. The streets are cobblestone and rustic, with a lot of cool scenery and architecture. And it has it’s own subway system too. It is not a main tourist destination like Roma, but it is definitely worth checking out. You need to see it for yourself!
Holly Dayz: Do you have any tips for someone who has never been to Milan, Torino, or Liguria?
Gaetano: Main advice would be to learn some Italian before going, there aren’t as many English speakers as you would think. The Italians will appreciate when you attempt to “conversate” with them! Just make sure to work on your Italian Pronunciation too! Also beware of Gypsies, they are vagabonds wandering from city to city, and are notoriously known for petty thefts like robbery and pick pocketing. The gypsies will take advantage of easy targets like confused and lost tourists.
Tania L. Breton, aka “Tania On The Scene,” was born and raised in Queens, New York. While attending York College, Tania worked as a staff writer for the college’s paper, “Pandora’s Box”. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Journalism.
Tania is currently working at PIX 11 Morning News in NYC as an entertainment producer. She also writes stories for the LIVE show. Additionally, she has had some of her celebrity interviews featured in the “Best Of NYC” section on the PIX11 website.
She has recently launched her website TaniaOnTheScene.com to promote her on-camera work. “Tania On The Scene” is available to host your next event, emcee your next party, or interview your favorite celebs.
HollyDayz: What took you to Miami? Tania: Kid N Play were hosting a house party and I was invited by PLUSH Illusions to cover the event. They hosted and also performed. It was a great event. Everyone was rockin’ out. HollyDayz: How was the weather when you went? Tania: The weather was beautiful! No humidity. Just the sun beaming down and giving me that awesome glow lol. HollyDayz: What was your favorite part of your trip to Miami? Tania: Kid N Play did their infamous dance from back in the day. But honestly my favorite part was interviewing them. They were so down to a Earth. Kid is hilarious. Play taught me a lot from his experience in journalism. It was a fun interview. A real good time that I think was also portrayed on camera.
HollyDayz: What was your favorite meal to eat while there? Tania: I think all I had was take out. Terrible! But I gotta say when the event was over, those pancakes from Ihop hit the spot. HollyDayz: Since you love to interview people who are your top 3 people that you would love to interview who claim Miami as their home? Tania: Pitbull. I love that new song he has with NeYo. He’s all over. I love it! Rick Ross would be a dope interview. I would play a game with him to see what we could find out about him. And Sidney Poitier, simply because he’s a legend. I feel like that would be the most meaningful interview because there’s so much to learn from his journey. HollyDayz: What are some of the tourist spots that you visited? Tania: I didn’t do any touristy things because I really only flew in for the weekend to work. It was a Saturday night event and my flight was Sunday morning. HollyDayz: How would you describe Miami to a person who has never been there? Tania: If you’ve been to Vegas, it’s very similar… I would even compare it to Times Square in NY. It’s a strip of bars and restaurants and the weather is usually warm and beautiful. HollyDayz: Any tips for those who have never been there? Tania: Always bring an umbrella because it will randomly rain on you. Sun showers for 2 mins and then done. Just like that.
HollyDayz: Where would you like your next interview to be? Tania: Hawaii would be awesome! But I’ll settle for anywhere in the UK. I know a lot of artists are huge over there.
Check out the Kid N Play Interview as well as the other celebrity interviews. Find out more about Tania at Tania On The Scene and follow her on Twitter
Monica Ramirez is a professional dancer from Yuma, Arizona. She began dancing at the age of 7 where she studied classical ballet under a full scholarship at Yuma Ballet Academy. At the age of 13, she hung up her ballet sippers and began training in jazz, modern, and hip hop.
Soul and R&B singer Noel Gourdin (Gor-Deen) emerged on the music scene with his number one hit song “The River”, which stayed on the Urban AC charts at number one for 15 weeks! Noel’s childhood was not a traditional one; he was born in Brockton, MA., but spent his summers with family in Pachuta, Mississippi. His current album,“City Heart, Southern Soul” is a musical expression of his life. It is already producing hits like “FOXXXY”, which is currently top 10 on UK’s urban radio soul charts and is in getting heavy rotation on UK radio. The single “Don’t You Wanna”, which was featured on VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop – Atlanta” show, is also becoming a fan favorite. “I grew up on music that had meaning and it’s still around today; that music was made in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. What I want to be remembered for….. Timeless, Real and Soulful, music,” said Noel Gourdin. The result is a man who is city to the heart but southern to the soul!
Noel Gourdin: His hometown of Brockton…
Holly Dayz:What are your favorite things to do while in Brockton?
Noel: Well first and foremost it would have to be visiting and hanging out with my Family and Friends. Since moving down South to Alabama a few years ago, I really don’t get a lot of opportunities to get back home except for if I’m performing or attending an event. I try to catch up with the people who I grew up with and that had an impact on me and helped me become the Man I am today.
Holly Dayz:What are your favorite places to go in Brockton that bring out your creativity?
Noel: One place would be DW Fields Park, which is a huge park with biking and walking paths, and bodies of water. Whether your feeding the ducks or just sitting on one of the benches and watching the water, it’s always been such a serene and peaceful place to go to be creative. Other places would be the golf courses, DW Fields Park Course, or White Pines, or Ponkapoag. I know it may sound weird but I’m a very visual person and golf courses are beautifully manicured and it’s easy for me to be creative in such places. Haha….
Holly Dayz: What spots do you have to go to eat when you go back to Brockton?
Noel: The first place that I have to go is Cape Cod Cafe for their pizza, it’s impossible to explain how good they are if you haven’t tasted one. Next would have to be Supreme House of Pizza for their steak & cheese subs, as well as D’Angelos for their subs. Frank’s and McMenamy’s Seafood for my favorite seafood plates, and Mee King’s for the best Chinese food in the City. I know I may seem like a glutton with all these must eat spots, but hey…
Holly Dayz:Three things you would recommend doing while in Brockton?
Noel: If you’re there in the summertime then I would most definitely recommend going to experience the Brockton Fair while it’s in Town. Another things that I would say is to eat at any one of the spots that I talked about in the answer just before this one, haha… The third would be to check out a game of the sport that’s in season, whether it be the Celtics, the Patriots or the Red Sox, for obvious reasons of course. Haha… But the electricity while being there live is incredible and unforgettable.
Holly Dayz: Do any of your songs reference Brockton and have you ever shot a video there?
Noel:I always have Brockton in my mind while I’m writing songs, like the reference of riding up to the lake in my song “Foxxxy” off my latest album “City Heart, Southern Soul” is actually about parking near the bodies of water at DW Fields Park in Brockton. I have never shot a video there and that’s just because I’ve never really had the opportunity to do so, wherever the videographer has been is where I’ve shot my videos due to budgeting.
Holly Dayz: What are some family friendly places to go in Brockton?
Noel:There’s a lot of places to go, but I’d say you should take the short ride to Cape Cod, to really experience an unforgettable time and all that New England has to offer. Fun Parks, beaches, board walks with arcades, and shops with souvenirs etc.. If at all possible take a ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard as well, but try to spend at least a week there.
Holly Dayz:How is your hometown different from where you live now and does it affect your writing?
Noel:Brockton is a little faster in terms of pace and how folks are always in a hurry and here in Alabama, things are a lot more spread out and folks are a lot more laid back. It’s quieter where I live now, and I prefer quieter. Doing what I do for a living, I’m frequently in places that are so loud and lively and I like getting back home to peace and quiet, and peace of mind. So if it’s had an effect on my writing, I’d say it’s been a great effect, and I’ve welcomed it.
Holly Dayz: Besides Brockton, what has been your favorite place to visit and why?
Noel: I absolutely love and feel blessed to go and perform where ever people request and want me to perform, but my favorite places would have to be Atlanta, Georgia, and Mississippi. Simply because when I go to those places to perform, I know I’m gonna get a chance to see my family that I haven’t seen in a little while. It’s always good and worthwhile to hang out with the Fam!
Holly Dayz: Any hometown performances in the near future?
Noel: I do have a few things in the works, and I’m so hoping that they pan out because it’s always a special place for me to perform and show out! My People are my People and it’s all about LOVE!
Holly Dayz: What is your favorite hometown venue to perform at, or a place you would love to perform at?
Noel: There are well-respected, “hole in the wall joints”, in Brockton named “Pete & Mary’s” and “GiGi’s” and they were always a couple of my favorite places to perform! Everybody went there, I mean generations and they were the types of places where everyone knew everyone. So when I would perform there and get props, it was like getting recognition from Family.
Holly Dayz: In your opinion, when would be the best time to visit Brockton?
Noel: I would say the best time to visit would be the summertime. There’s just so many things to do, and if you do go, tell them Noel Gourdin sent you and you just might get a discount! I’m not promising anything, but you just might! Haha…
**FUN FACT ABOUT NEW ZEALAND: The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit were filmed in New Zealand,and it is possible to visit Hobbiton yourself! ** If you do, you should use motorhome hire for a truly authentic experience. You’ll have to get there first; luckily, there are travel companies similar to explorow.com – New Zealand is one of their destinations!
SPOTLIGHT TRAVEL with Basketball Player –
Meet Glenn Dandridge. A professional basketball player from Virginia who has played in different parts of the world.
Today you will get a glimpse of Glenn’s life playing basketball in New Zealand for 5 months…
Holly Dayz: I know you went to New Zealand to play basketball, what part were you in? Glen Dandridge: I was in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the South Island.
Holly Dayz: What were your first thoughts when you realized that was were you would be headed to play basketball?
Glen Dandridge: I knew that it was on the other side of the world and knew that it would be different.
Holly Dayz: Did you do anything to prepare? If so what?
Glen Dandridge: I did nothing out of the normal. Just train, like I normally do before leaving to go play in another country.
Holly Dayz:What team did you play for? Tell me about the experience.
Glen Dandridge: The team’s name is Canterbury Rams. A team with a high tradition value. Because of the earthquakes that destroyed the city, they weren’t able to have a team in the city for a number of years. So this was the first year for the Rams to be back in the league.
Holly Dayz:Were a lot of your teammates from the United States?
Glen Dandridge: My entire team was from New Zealand. Only two imports were allowed per team, so it was me and three other Americans. Two of the American players were naturalized citizens.
Holly Dayz: How is the city of Christchurch since the earthquakes?
Glen Dandridge: I enjoyed my time in Christchurch. The city is still being rebuilt from the earthquakes. It will be nice in the future when everything is built back up.
Holly Dayz: What are some of the “tourist” type of spots that you visited, versus places you went to as a “resident?” ex. Clubs, restaurants, shopping…
Glen Dandridge: I went down to Queenstown. Which is big for skiing … Also has one of the largest bungee jumping bridges .. Crazy thing is, their winter is our summer, so it was a little hard getting used to that.
Holly Dayz: How was playing basketball there,different from other countries you have played in?
Glen Dandridge: Basketball is basketball no matter where you go in the world. May be officiated differently but that’s part of the game and you just have to adjust.
Holly Dayz: Do they try to emulate USA styles or do they have their own unique ways that we in the US copy? Did you pick up any styles that you brought back with you to the states?
Glen Dandridge: New Zealand was very unique. They definitely had their own style as far as people just in the city. My teammates were very much “Americanized”. Meaning, they watched or have been around Americans, so they use some of that style as well. No I didn’t take on a particular style, but a local clothing company, named of Uptown Goods, has great street wear and I did bring some of that back with me to the states.
Holly Dayz: What is the public transportation like? Are there a lot of cars or do the locals take buses , trains or taxi’s more often? How did you get around?
Glen Dandridge: Public transport is the same as in the states. There are buses, and taxis. Most of the locals would take buses or have their own car. I don’t know what the fares were… I had my own car.
Holly Dayz: What is the weather really like there? What can people visiting expect during the different seasons?
Glen Dandridge: Weather in the summer time is nice. The sun is more harsh there… Also the seasons are the reverse of the seasons in the U.S.. Right now it’s winter time there and summer time here.
Holly Dayz: Did you pick up the Kiwi language?
Glen Dandridge: There is no Kiwi language per say… It’s all English they just had a different accent that I would have to ask to repeat often because I didn’t understand the first time.
**(There are several languages of New Zealand. English (New Zealand English) is the dominant language spoken by most New Zealanders. There are around 70,000 native speakers of Maori out of a population of over 500,000 M?ori people.)**
Holly Dayz: What were some places you liked to go to grab some food?
Glen Dandridge: For the most part I ate at home. I cooked most of my meals. But I did like the local fish and chips spots.
**(No trip to New Zealand is complete without a delicious Hangi. Hangi means earth oven, and is a traditional Maori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven. Fish and Chips is a bona-fide Kiwi favourite. Freshly caught snapper, terakihi and hoki are the most common types of fish used.)**
Holly Dayz: After practice or on a day off, what were your favorite places to go to relax?
Glen Dandridge: I like to go up to the hills and just relax and take in the beautiful scenery over the bays.
Holly Dayz: I know your really into photography, what were some of your favorite places to take pictures?
Glen Dandridge: I liked taking photos at the beach, or on the hills overlooking the bays. Also, any beach that has a pier. I would go to NewBrighton Beach and Pier, that would light up just after dark.
This section will feature different people, from all walks of life, giving you a glimpse into their lives and travel adventures.
Don’t forget to click on our Follow Button on the left so you don’t miss all the exciting things we have planned. So check out our first interview on Spotlight Travels, with hip-hop recording artist Dear Pricey and his take on his homeland of Barbados.